Lumix S5

This is an amazing camera

Main reasons why I bought the S5

Price and Value
$2300 is the same price I paid for the EOS R in Nov 2018. The R was rushed to market and had a poorly designed user interface. This $2300 S5 includes a 20-60 lens, 2 card slots, amazing video specs, a high resolution mode, and IBIS so a much better deal.

Video Specs
The LUMIX S5 is capable of 4K 60p/50p4:2:0 10-bit, and 4K 30p/25p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording. It is also capable of 4K 60p/50p 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output. For 4K 30p 4:2:0 8-bit internal recording, there is no time limit. Wow. I bought a Canon T2i in 2010 since it was the first affordable DSLR at $850 with a kit lens to record in full HD 1080/24p. Nikon didn’t have that in 2010.

High Resolution Mode
This seems like a great idea to get 2-8 times more resolution out of a sensor. I tried it out and will run a test soon. Jpegs are usually 8-10 mb, and in high res mode are about 24-30 mb. The High Resolution raw files are 173 mb and the converted to DNG format are 80-90 mb.

Sigma Art Lenses
These are known as some really outstanding lenses though I’ve never owned or used one. The L mount 85 f1.4 and 105 f2.8 macro all look like amazing lenses at a reasonable price. These Sigma lenses are only available in the Sony E mount and the L mount so if you want to use them on a EOS R or Nikon Z camera you’re out of luck. I’m sure a Z and RF mount macro lens will be released by 2022 but none are available in Nov 2020.

L mount lens selection
Though not as numerous compared to the Nikon F, Z, and Canon EF, or R mount line up, the lenses that I do want are available. A Nikon 58mm F0.95 is an interesting lens, but I would never buy one, or a lens faster than f1.4 or an f/2.8 300mm or longer so the lenses that I would buy are available now and more on their roadmap. The Sigma 100 f2.8 Macro and 85 f1.4 look like especially compelling lenses to buy and use.

L mount lens price
Looking at the prices of the Sigma DG DN L mount lenses and the Lumix lenses the prices are reasonable. $1000 for the Sigma 100-400, $800 for the 105 macro, $600 alone or $300 in a S5 kit for the 20-60, and $600 for the 85 f1.8 prime are all very competitive. The Lumix 70-200’s are a little pricy so I’ll use my converter and EF mount lenses until I get the Sigma L mount 100-400

3 year warranty
The 3 year warranty is 2 years longer than all other manufacturers. All you have to do is register the body and lenses online.

First impressions
So my overall impression is very positive. Specifically:

  • Dials or buttons for WB, ISO, Exp Comp, Drive and Self timer, Autofocus or Manual focus. No longer do I have to dive into a menu to change a setting of a feature I commonly use. This is a great idea and makes adjusting settings faster and more intuitive.
  • 2 card slots. Though reviewers and commenters consistency whine about not having this feature, the main thing I use it for is to double the capacity of my existing SD cards, so instead of 1 64gb card, I now can have two 64gb cards in my camera doubling the camera’s capacity without having to buy a new card.
  • SD card slots. Not the CFexpress/XQD card slot that would require me to buy a different format card and a new card reader because Nikon thought it was a good idea. SD cards are fine. They are available in faster speeds and higher capacity then I’ll ever need.
  • I shot mainly portrait and landscape. I don’t shoot sports, birds in flight, or other wildlife, so the autofocus is fine for me. I may end up shooting some weddings eventually so I’ll update this review if I do.
  • Fast and accurate autofocus, people running straight at the camera and zig zagging around are great test cases for a YouTube review, but I never shoot football games so super fast and accurate autofocus isn’t a feature I need.
  • I manually focus when shooting landscapes so the focus peaking is really important and seems to work fine.
  • I went to camera store in 2019 in Louisiana where I bought a used 6DII and tried out the Nikon Z6. It handles perfectly and feels great in the hands. I think Nikon did a great job with the design and Z lens selection, minus the 58mm f/0.95. Still, I don’t feel compelled to buy one. The small market share, numerous strategic and execution disasters the company has had over the last 10 years, low resale value all make me avoid the brand.
  • I did take a look at the Canon R6 at Bestbuy in November 2020. It’s a much larger camera than I expected. At $2500 I just didn’t feel compelled to buy it. The $2300 I spent on the EOS R in 2018 seems like a waste looking back on that rushed to market camera body. Even if you stay in the same brand, the user interface is still a little different and takes some getting used to. The S5 hasn’t been bad. I haven’t read the manual yet and figured out everything I needed to in the field.
  • Looking at the Canon RF and Nikon Z lines, they are both getting built out logically and consistently so I hope they are both successful, but I wanted to try something new and the S5 seemed much more compelling to buy and try out than the Canon R6 or Nikon Z6II. I really hope both of these lines are successful, but if you are really interested in video or high resolution stills capability then the S5 should be considered before buying a full frame mirrorless camera like the Canon R6 or Nikon Z6II
  • The EF to L mount converter made the buying decision a bit easier since I can use my two favorite telephotos on the S5 for an extra $200. Note I’d have to use a converter if I bought the Canon R6 too.
  • When shaking the camera body, a noise is audible. It sounds like a large piece of glass making a thud.
  • The 20-60 is a great idea of a lens. I used to have a 17-40 and 24-70 but this one lens effectively takes the place of both. So now I just need a 70-200 f/4 in my bag and I’m set for a landscape and an outdoors shoot. If shooting portraits or in low light I might add in some fast f 1.8 primes.
  • The SOOC Jpeg shadows go black pretty consistently. The raw files can easily be fixed in post.
  • Adobe DNG Converter converts Lumix S5 raw files as of version 13.0
Bixby Bridge in California. My first image with the S5